How to Look Beautiful on a Budget
Sure, we've got problems with the economy. But no one wants to look stressed-out about it. Some ideas for keeping your skin, hair and nails in shape without breaking the bank: Face StuffSkip the expensive creams. Janet Luhrs, author of the newsletter, "Simple Living" and the book, "The Simple Living Guide," used to buy moisturizing cream at the dermatologist's office, spending $108 for a 4-ounce jar. Now she uses 100 percent jojoba, apricot or avocado oil, that she gets for around $4 for the same size container.Make your own acne treatment. Dina Falconi, an herbalist and author of "Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair," offers this recipe: Combine a quarter cup of water, a quarter cup of 80 proof liquor, and 20 drops each of sage, grapefruit and lavender essential oils. Apply to the problem area, she said.Forget about toner. If you want that squeaky, clean feeling, that's fine, said Nadine Haobsh, beauty expert and author of "Beauty Confidential." But there's no need to incporate a toner into your routine, she said. She recommends simplifying things by using just a cleanser and an SPF 30 cream or serum. At night, use a cream or serum that has retinol and peptides, she said. Dab on pimple cream from the drug store when you feel a pimple coming. For more problem skin, go to the derm, she said.Grab a lemon or cucumber. Take a make-up brush, dip it in lemon juice and use it to fade age spots and freckles, said Haobsh. If you are prone to oily skin, soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and rub it on the T-Zone. Slice a cucumber and put a slice over each eye to deflate puffy eyes, she said. Make-Up
Hit the drug store. Luhrs purchases foundation, eyeshadow and mascara at the local drug store.Cheap and better eye liner. Eyeliner at a fancy make-up counter can run you $13.00, said Luhrs. She lightly moistens her powder eye shadow with water and then uses a fine brush to line her eyes.Don't match eyes to the outfits. Luhrs finds one or two colors that look great on her, and sticks with them. Hygiene Here's a secret. You can make your own deodorant using baking soda, said Falconi -- try dusting some under your arms. To get fancy, add one drop of essential oil to the powder before applying, said Falconi.Use olive oil to moisturize. At night, apply olive oil to your hands and feet and then cover them with gloves and socks. You'll wake up to smooth hands and and feet, said Marie Scalogna-Watkinson, owner of Spa Chicks On-The-Go, a mobile spa service in New York City.A little bit of Crisco never hurt. If you have super dry skin, use Crisco as a moisturizer, whether it's the hands, feet or face, said Haobsh. "It's not glamorous, but it works," she said. Too biscuit like? Try Vaseline, she said.Do your own waxes. Drug stores boast an array of home waxing kits for the face and body, said Haobsh.Use baking soda as toothpaste. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to the consistency of toothpaste and use it daily to brush teeth, said NYC cosmetic dentists Drs. Marc Lowenberg and Gregg Lituchy in an email. This cleans surface stains, kills bacteria and makes teeth appear whiter.Try some petroleum jelly. Another tip from the dentists: If you know you're going to be drinking red wine or coffee, protect teeth from stains by coating them with the jelly, such as Vasline. The coating acts as a barrier to prevent staining and also helps to keep lipstick off of teeth, they said. (Dr. Matthew Messina, spokesperson for the American Dental Association, said he can't see any harm in the practice.)Eat your veggies. Chewing raw crunchy vegetables, such as celery and carrots, helps to remove surface stains, said Lowenberg and Lituchy. Hair
Make your own shampoo. Falconi's recipe: Six to eight ounces of an herbal tea, 3 ounces of liquid castile soap, which can be purchased at a health food store, a quarter of a teaspoon of vegetable oil and up to 60 drops of an essential oil.Grab some condiments. If you have dry hair, put mayonnaise and olive oil on your hair while it's dry and wrap it in a warm towel or in plastic rap for 20 minutes before rinsing, said Haobsh. Or rinse your hair with beer in the shower to seal in shine, she said. And if you are out of cream hair moisturizer, use your body moisturizer, she said. Rub it into your hands and run your hands through your hair.DIY hair color. Modern hair color kits are pretty much fool-proof, said Haobsh. You can even do highlights yourself. Ask your regular hair stylist if he or she can recommend a kit to tide you between professional treatments, said stylist Peter Ishkhans, host of "Peter Perfect," which debuts a new season in January 2009 on The Style Network.Cut your own bangs. Make sure your hair is dry, said Ishkhans. Cut the bangs flat on your face (don't hold the bangs up and cut) and don't go shorter than your eye brows, he said.Use less. Only people with finer textured hair need to shampoo daily because their hair tends to get oilier, said Ishkhans. People with fine hair that has no body generally don't need a conditioner, he said. He suggests adding some water to shampoo and conditioner to make it last longer.Skip salon and beauty store products. The products generally contain the same ingredients as products in a super market or drug store, said Ishkhans. Check the labels and compare. Relaxation
- Make your own spa. Turn the bathroom into a spa, said Scalogna-Watkinson. Carve out some "me" time, put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door, light a candle, add some esssential oils to the water and soak. If you want it more spa-like, purchase a remote control massaging bath mat, she said.
- Do your own manis and pedis. It's not about the color, said Haobsh. "If you keep the cuticles moisturized and keep your nails to a uniform shape, it'll look nice, like you had a manicure done." Use olive oil on the cuticles and gently push them back. File the nails to the same shape and length. Do this regularly, she said.